OSL Canada

The International Order of St Luke the Physician






A Gift of Love


By Keith Bird



In October 2012, I attended an information meeting sponsored by Acorn Canada, featuring guest speaker, The Rev. Dr. Russ Parker, Director of Acorn Christian Foundation in the UK.   Among his many interesting stories about the work of Acorn around the world was how Listening had made the difference in resolving the conflict between leaders of war-torn Ireland.  He also shared how Listening is impacting individual lives in dramatic and positive ways. 

Who would have imagined simply "Listening" could have such an important and even life-changing  impact?

Following that meeting I had the privilege of attending a introductory evening, then a four-week course.  The process opened me up to the incredible experience of Listening to others with new ears, new eyes and yes, with a new heart.  I experienced being listening to in a way that was completely new and wonderful: one that made me feel accepted and understood, that provided space and encouragement for me to continue sharing without interruption.... then some questions that allowed me to discover resources within for making a decision about the story I was sharing. 


I also experienced the joy of learning to listen to others in like manner.

Questions that were posed to the group by leaders at the beginning of the course, and some answers:

Question:  Take a moment to consider how it makes you feel when you begin sharing a problem but are not being listened to; when your listener interrupts your story, wants to tell you about a problem they are having.  How do you feel?

Answers: Ignored...insignificant...unimportant...invisible... not valued... frustrated..


Question:  When others give unsolicited advice, or attempt to "fix" your problem, how does that make you feel? 

Answers:  Alienated... hurt... unheard...and frustrated.

Question:  On the other hand, when you are really listened to you, how does that make you feel? 

Answers:  Relieved.... understood.... important... significant... valued... respected... validated....  loved.

As one who has always had a keen interest in listening, I thought I knew how to listen well, both in personal relationships and in ministry.  I am grateful to have discovered there is much for me to learn,.  The course provided important tools to improve my capacity to listen, and to better understand and communicate with family, church members and others.  

During the four sessions we learned about "filters" and how we unconsciously use them when listening.  Filters are various ways we perceive others and make judgments, where urges reside to offer advice... to 'fix' a situation... or even rescue.  Filters work against our ability to create uninterrupted space needed to allow another to fully share a burden, a concern, a disappointment, or to even express joy or delight. 


When we feel fully listened to and receive 'reflective statementsí from our listener as feedback, we get to hear and understand our self in a new way; perhaps for the first time!  And when given the space to continue telling our story, and then to reflect on three important questions, it is amazing what takes place within.  We often discover new resources to help us make decisions... perhaps see our situation from a different perspective... come to a conclusion of our own making... and step forward with confidence, and in some cases even a new sense of hope! 

Life changing?  

Attending the course was the beginning of a new chapter in my journey.  I am learning new ways of listening to others, to God, and to myself and how to identify and silence filters.  I can't wait to attend the next course.

Beginner groups for training in Listening are being formed.  When sufficient members have joined, Acorn tutors will be made available. If you would like the opportunity to join a group or for more information please click to complete a brief survey. 

Keith Bird is a lifetime member of OSL, a member of Region 8 Council, newsletter editor and webmaster for OSL Canada, and host of the OSL Online Telephone Conference Calls held 6 times a year.  He is actively involved in healing prayer ministry, and is a leader in his church.  He and his wife, Froni, have two adult children and eight delightful grandchildren.  Keith may be contacted at  editor@oslCanada.org